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Croatia (/krˈʃə/ (listen), kroh-AY-shə; Croatian: Hrvatska, pronounced [xř̩ʋaːtskaː]), officially the Republic of Croatia (Croatian: Republika Hrvatska, ), is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe. It shares a coastline along the Adriatic Sea, and borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Italy to the west and southwest. Croatia's capital and largest city, Zagreb, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, with twenty counties. The country spans an area of 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles), with a population of nearly 3.9 million.

The Croats arrived in the 6th century and organised the territory into two duchies by the 9th century. Croatia was first internationally recognised as independent on 7 June 879 during the reign of Duke Branimir. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. During the succession crisis after the Trpimirović dynasty ended, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of Austria to the Croatian throne. In October 1918, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, and in December 1918, merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of Croatia was incorporated into a Nazi installed puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia, which committed genocide against Serbs, Jews, and Roma. A resistance movement led to the creation of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, which after the war became a founding member and constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, and the War of Independence was fought for four years following the declaration.

A sovereign state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system. It is a member of the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. An active participant in United Nations peacekeeping, Croatia has contributed troops to the International Security Assistance Force and took a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2008–2009 term. Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.

Croatia is classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy and ranks very high on the Human Development Index. Service, industrial sectors, and agriculture dominate the economy, respectively. Tourism is a significant source of revenue, with Croatia ranked among the 20 most popular tourist destinations. The state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia's most important trading partner. Croatia provides social security, universal health care, and tuition-free primary and secondary education while supporting culture through public institutions and corporate investments in media and publishing. (Full article...)

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Walls of Dubrovnik with sight on Minčeta Tower
Walls of Dubrovnik with sight on Minčeta Tower

The Walls of Dubrovnik (Croatian: Dubrovačke gradske zidine) are a series of defensive stone walls surrounding the city of Dubrovnik in southern Croatia. With numerous additions and modifications throughout their history, they have been considered to be amongst the great fortification systems of the Middle Ages, as they were never breached by a hostile army during this time period. In 1979, the old city of Dubrovnik, which includes a substantial portion of the old walls of Dubrovnik, joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

The oldest systems of fortifications around the town were likely wooden palisades. Today's intact city walls, constructed mainly during the 12th–17th centuries, mostly a double line, have long been a source of pride for Dubrovnik. The walls run an uninterrupted course of approximately 1,940 metres (6,360 ft) in length, encircling most of the old city, and reach a maximum height of about 25 metres (82 ft). The bulk of the existing walls and fortifications were constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries, but were continually extended and strengthened up until the 17th century. (Full article...)

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Juan Bielovucic, c. 1913
Juan Bielovucic, c. 1913
Juan Bielovucic (30 July 1889 – 14 January 1949) was a Peruvian aviator of Croatian and French descent who set several speed and altitude aviation records in 1910–13. He was also the first person to complete a successful powered aircraft crossing of the Alps in 1913, following a 1910 attempt by his friend Jorge Chávez that ended in a fatal crash landing. He established the first aviation school in South America in Lima, Peru. Bielovucic became a colonel of the Peruvian Aviation Corps (PAC) in 1911, joined the Service Aéronautique of the French Army as a volunteer in 1914 and earned the Legion of Honour for his service in World War I. He retired from active aviation in 1920 and returned to Peru where he became the lieutenant commander of the PAC Reserve. He was also active with the French Resistance during World War II. In Croatia, he is regarded as the first Croatian aviator. (Full article...)

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European route E751 shield

D21 was an 80.1-kilometre-long (49.8 mi), north–south state road in Istria County, Croatia. A short section of D21 was a part of the European route E751. The northern terminus of the route was located at the Croatia–Slovenia border at the Dragonja River. There it connected to Koper, Slovenia, and Trieste, Italy, via the Slovene route G11 further north. The route was generally parallel to A9 motorway, with which it formed several junctions, either directly or via short connectors, at Buje, Bale and Vodnjan – towns served directly by D21. The southern terminus of the route was found in the city of Pula, at the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula.

The road, as well as all other state roads in Croatia, was managed and maintained by Hrvatske ceste, a state-owned company. The road carried an annual average daily traffic of about 2,000 vehicles, and the traffic volume increased by up to 1,000 vehicles in summer as the road was used by tourists in the region. The southernmost portion of the road was significantly more congested as it carries Pula suburban traffic. (Full article...)

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  • ...that the first pharmacy in Europe was opened in the Croatian town of Trogir in 1271?

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Motovun.jpg
Motovun is a town in central Istria, Croatia. It is situated on a hill 270 meters above sea level. On top of a Motovun hill is probably the most beautiful medieval town in Istria, with houses scattered all over the hill. It is a typical example of Venetian colonial architecture.
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